Thursday 27 July 2017

Branded Buses; Bland Buses; Well Planned ... (1)

Because You're Worth It?
fbb has before mused over the branding craze which, from time to time, afflicts the bus industry. Remember that certain routes in Sheffield, mainly the frequent ones affected by post-deregulation competitive silliness, were branded "Mainline".
When South Yorkshire(s) Transport was sold to its employees, the new company and ALL its routes was named "Mainline!. Thus,effectively, the supposed benefits of the route brands were lost.

Likewise GoAhead promoted key services in Poole as "more".
Next the "brand" was deleted from the Canford Heath group of services ...
... leaving the M1 and M2 to Bournemouth as less of more. But then, the whole operation based on Poole was branded "more". 

Likewise, what began as a brand for Salisbury City services ...
... then became the company "name" for everything, even the prestigious long distance "X" routes.
Elsewhere, bus watchers have been slightly mystified by Arriva with, firstly, its "Sapphire" brand ...
... which, in certain parts of the country is the "Max" brand.
Then, of course, there are buses with lime green fronts ...
... presumably to emphasise the vehicles' environmental benefits. Yet again, some Sapphires have changed to something different ...
... as seen in the relaunch, re-rebrand of service 1 at Wrexham.
And we must not forget the revised colour blue and the proposed and utterly daft new logo. Arriva Danemark had severe warnings about altering the original logo:-
So there!

But while we are wondering about all this, it is worth remembering that we, the passengers, are paying the bill for design teams, repainting and, of course, corporate identity manuals. 

Question. Could and big bus company explain how many additional passengers have been travelling on heir routes as a result of a new paint scheme or revised logo?

Even more challenging is to ask how many extra passengers travel once the bus carries a brand which is route specific.
There is good evidence that an increased frequency brings extra passengers but no always enough to justify the extra buses and staff needed. But does paint really make a difference.

Tomorrow, we will look at London's latest "experiment" in route branding and one company that it re-branding a key service after a relatively short lifespan from its predecessor brand.

Meanwhile, up North ...
... more paint, more consultants, more logos and more cost to the passengers. This was just over a year ago.  Searching the web site, it is quite hard to find mention of  ... sh ... you know who.
ha, there it is, right at the bottom of the list.
Re-branding, is it really worth it?

 Next brand or bland blog : Friday 28th July 


  1. Andrew Kleissner27 July 2017 at 08:36

    Probably not paint in many cases, but vinyl overlays ...

    Surely one of the worst features of all this is when a specially branded bus turns up on the "wrong" service - i.e. the destination says "Crematorium via Hospital" but the bus is plastered all over with "Airport Express". How many folk have actually missed their bus, or got on the wrong one, because of it?

    I noticed a clever form of route branding on the Cambridge P&R. Each route has its own colour of bus, but the general livery design is generic, thus denoting "P&R". And there is one bus in "generic grey", for back-up on any route - clever.

  2. I like when buses have paint on them 🚌🚌🚌🚌🚌

  3. Go Ahead South Coast (More, Reds, Bluestar, Damory, 2 x Uni services) I believe often do repaints, when buses pass between the group elements.

    That must be a lot of work and expense, but I guess as the work is done by the in-group Hants and Dorset Trim, which takes in work from outside, the cost is mitigated.

    Has anyone any idea of the cost of a repaint of the types done for GSC buses?

  4. Max and Sapphire are not the same. While both offer upmarket interiors with wifi, Sapphire also has power points and next stop announcements. But Arriva's standard interior seems to have all but the last now, so whether Max has a future defined in this way is doubtful.
    Both brands can be found in some locations, such as Aylesbury and Darlington.

  5. Regarding the new 'northern' I have yet to come across a station which has been re-branded or even with a 'northern' sticker

  6. It would be virtually impossible to determine whether more passengers travel as a result of a new paint scheme or a new logo. But surely potential passengers are likely to be attracted by a bus company that gives out an aura of quality and modernity, and image is part of this. Bus companies are not renowned for spending unnecessarily, so they must believe there are benefits, however intangible. I suspect they're right.

  7. This smells to me to be a dig at Best Impressions.